The Last Dreamgirl
By- Shane Hayes
For every man there’s a girl who grips his imagination and his heart as no other girl ever did or will. She may be in her teens or a mature woman. He responds to her as a boy to a girl. Whether she comes early in his life or late, there is a throne in his subconscious that she takes possession of, without trying, often without wanting to.The image he forms of her reigns there in perpetuity, even if she has left his life, or this life. Her enchantment never fades or fails, and he is never immune to it. She may not be for him the last wife or paramour, but she is the last dreamgirl.
Excerpt 6 (from Chapter 4, Conquering Hysteria)
Hoping her stay would last only a few more days, she tried to keep herself from getting depressed and panicky. If she made it a kind of lark, like a brief weird hospital stay for an ailment that didn’t hurt, she kept up her courage and the hours passed almost painlessly. If she saw herself in a darker light, in the clutches of a maniac, she oscillated between gloom and hysteria.
When Ollie heard her screaming and weeping—once or twice a day for the first three days—he spoke calming words from the kitchen door. He knew she didn’t want him beside or in the cage at such times but out of sight, so he sat on the top step of the stairwell. In a soothing voice, he assured her his intentions were benign, and that in the context of her lifetime this stay with him was like three days out of a year. His voice was like the voice of reasonableness: never harsh or strident, never angry or menacing. His words always sounded temperate, sincere, and credible. So mostly she stayed calm....
Ollie was almost glad when on the third evening he showed Sandra a few of his paintings and got a negative reaction. Sandra said she didn’t like his painting, either the watercolors or the oils, nearly as much as she liked his drawing. If she were just buttering him up she’d have spread praise over everything, but she didn’t. She made distinctions.
She couldn’t say exactly why the drawings were better. When she stared at the paintings and sketches for a while, she made a comment he thought highly perceptive. She said, “I think your sense of line is better than your sense of color.”
“My God, you express things well!” he said. “You must be thirty. You can’t be seventeen.” He didn’t like her impugning his sense of color, but he loved the sharpness of her mind and her way with words. Now he was satisfied that she really liked his sketches, which he had always known were better than his paintings. “Who ever told you about ‘a sense a line’ and ‘a sense of color’?” he asked.
“I’m not sure,” she said. “I took an art book home from the library a while ago. The Arts of Man by Eric Newton. I read some of it and looked at all the pictures. Maybe I got those words there....”
“Amazing,” Ollie said. “Have you ever been to the art museum?”
“The big one?”
Ollie nodded. “The Philadelphia Museum of Art, on the Schuylkill.”
“Once, in school. On a class trip. Probably freshman year. Not since.”
“I’ll take you some time,” said Ollie, bubbling with enthusiasm to share his love of art with a dreamgirl.
“Take me today!” Sandra quipped.
That sobered him. He sat back in his chair and smiled. “I got carried away,” he said, abashed.
“So did I,” said Sandra pointedly. “That’s why I’m here.”
“Clever,” Ollie said. “Clever.”
About the Author-
A native Philadelphian, Shane Hayes earned his bachelor’s and his law degree from Villanova University, and studied for a year at Princeton Theological Seminary. He worked as a writer/editor for Prentice Hall and an attorney for the federal government. He is married, has four children, and lives in suburban Philadelphia. His nonfiction book The End of Unbelief: A New Approach to the Question of God was released by Leafwood Publishers in the fall of 2014.
Two young men meet on ship when both are recently out of college. They share a flaming ambition. Each aims to write novels that will be internationally acclaimed and win him a place in American letters. One of them, Paul Theroux, achieves the dream in all its glory: becomes world famous, writes over 40 books, and three of his novels are made into films. The other, Shane Hayes, fails completely, but keeps tenaciously writing, decade after decade, plowing on through hundreds of rejections. Then almost half a century later, Shane contacts Paul, who remembers him, reads three of his books, likes them, and praises them with endorsements.
In writing to agents and publishers Shane could now say, “Query for a novel praised by Paul Theroux.” No one offers a book deal because of an endorsement, so rejections keep coming. But more people let him send at least a sample and are predisposed to see merit in it. At his age, time is crucial. In the month he turns 75, Shane receives contracts on two of his books from different publishers. He will always be grateful to the literary giant who remembered ten days of friendship half-a-lifetime after it ended.
Social Media Links-
Author Website: http://www.shanehayes.org/